Not only is it the first of October (Ocfreakingtober!!!) but it is also World Vegetarian Day AND the first Day of Vegan MoFO! HURRAH! A Triple Whammy! I would like to start off my Vegan MoFo by telling you about some of the trials and tribulations involved in my transition from vegetariansm to a vegan lifestyle here in Spain. Spain, whilst a very beautiful country, is not sympathetic towards the animal rights movement what-so-ever. I know I am generalising here, but when you consider that less than 3% of the population is veg*an then you will forgive my little discrepancy. The attitude of many Spaniards is - if it moves, eat it. And some of the "food" that is consumed in this country is just unfookingbelieveable. An example is required here me thinks:
Cuttle Fish Goose Foot Barnacle (which actually look more like Turtle feet and totally freaked me out the first time I saw them at the supermarket) Sea Urchins
The thing that freaked me out the most was seeing someone scrape the flesh from out of a Sea Urchin and eat it - I almost blew chunks! I know this attitude to eating animals is not exclusive to Spain and I know that there are worse countries in the world, but I don't live there I live here so indulge me. The only real problems I have experienced by living a vegan lifestyle in Spain, besides from my own ethics and pre-conceptions, is really narrowed down to two categories: Buying Vegan products that match my budget Eating Out Eating out is cheap here in Spain, so it was a regular occurrence in my household and something we would indulge in two or three times a week before V DAY. Now it is more like once every two months. But I don't see that as a problem and I know there have been no complaints from my other half either, so it is no hardship really. When we do eat out we are lucky that there are three really good restaurants that I can trust not to sneak in some dairy or meat somewhere in the cooking process,and these are the ones we stick to. We also have a really good Pizza and Pasta Restaurant 3 mins away that understand what I mean when I ask for "No cheese on my pizza please". The biggest hurdle has definitely been buying every day Vegan products like deodorant, washing-up liquid, washing powder, shampoo etc etc. I have been using a Crystal Rock Deodorant for the last few months and also from the same company Soap Nuts which are both amazing products that I highly recommend. I also get a lot of LUSH products as well but only because my brother works for them and lets me abuse his 50% staff discount! But these products are luxuries and are no way every day essentials like Shampoo and Shower Gel - these were more of a challenge for me to source here in España. Lucky for me I found a superb source of friendship and information in the good old medium of Forums and Message Boards. Foro Vegetariano has been a wonderful support network for me (the chicos y chicas there have been so patient with my apalling grasp of the Spanish language - they all deserve medals). With some research and lots of helpful information I was able to compile a list of Cruelty Free Vegan items for every day use. Like most things in life that you care about - you are willing to make the time and the effort that they deserve, and this is more true of my Vegan Lifestyle and choices than anything else of importance in my life.